HAWICK coach Derek Armstrong insists survival isn’t his main goal for the forthcoming campaign.
And he is confident he has the squad to make an impact in Premier One.
The Greens made it into the top eight by the skin of their teeth last season, narrowly avoiding the dreaded play-offs to decide the drop.
While safety is very much on the agenda again, Armstrong is calling on his side to improve and climb the table.
After watching warm-up victories against Peebles and English outfit Westoe, he told the Hawick News: “First and foremost we want to get into the top eight, but I’m aiming for higher than we finished last year and I think that’s a realistic target.
“It’s going to be another really tough league this year but the boys have been training well in pre-season and we’re looking strong.”
Despite losing both the Lowrie brothers, David and Gary, Craig Robertson and Alistair Marsh, Hawick have been boosted by the return of key players in the shape of Nicky Little and Ross Armstrong, while veteran Tana Manihera and the Linden’s Steven Bouglas have also been added to the squad.
After playing a pivotal role for the YM last season, Lee Armstrong is also ready to slot into the stand-off role at Mansfield Park. And despite only playing one full season in the position, coach Armstrong is sure he has what it takes to make the step up to Premier One.
He said: “He’s still learning but he’s looked good in training and he’s a good footballer so we’ll see how it goes. I’ve every confidence in him or I wouldn’t have brought him in.”
Another player looking to return to the Greens is Neil Renwick, who will be heading home from his trip to Australia at the end of next month.
Armstrong added: “That’s great news to be getting him back. He’s had a bit of experience in Australia so that should help.”
The Greens open their league account with a tough away match at Heriot’s this afternoon.
“We need to hit the ground running,” said Armstrong. “Heriot’s like to throw the ball about a bit so it should be a good game.
“I respect all the teams in the league but I don’t fear anybody and I’m confident the boys will step up to the mark tomorrow.”